Total Recall: Pentagon Looks to 'Optimize' Troops' Minds
a.. By Katie Drummond
b.. July 29, 2009 |
c.. 10:40 am |
d.. Categories: DarpaWatch, Science!
The U.S. military is racing to master the mind. Last year, Pentagon
researchers kick-started a program to replicate a cat's brain. In April,
they requested proposals that would reproduce a monkey mind - and then test
its neural pathways to understand brain damage. They're even trying to
create an entirely new model for human cognition that's based on
thermodynamics; your brain as heat energy.
Next up: turning soldier's memories into finely-tuned hard drives. Darpa,
the Pentagon's far-out research arm, is soliciting ideas for a system that
would optimize human memory storage and recall by synchronizing neural brain
waves. The agency is hoping the project will keep human soldiers on pace
with rapidly advancing computer technology.
With the growing trends in developing information systems that display
increasingly greater amounts of data, new technologies are needed that help
our Warfighters optimize the neurocognitive processes underlying the storage
of information into memory.
Memory formation and long-term recall both depend on the interaction between
different neural brain waves. Gamma waves facilitate memory creation, and
Theta waves turn those short-term recollections into long lasting ones. What
Darpa wants is a small, portable system that presents information in an
order that would optimally synchronize Gamma and Theta waves. This would
give soldiers a boost at retaining large quantities of information in
high-stress situations, for longer periods of time. The goal, Darpa says,
"increasing the total quantity of information reliably recalled from a given
learning session over a minimum of three durations - 24 hours, one week, and
one month, post exposure."
Sounds great. But civilians one day getting the pink slip, thanks to this
Pentagon push. Darpa, for one, is confident that the project will improve
efficiency and cut staffing requirements across non-military sectors."Commercially,
this technology will provide a new capability to enable fewer personnel to
handle increasingly greater quantities of information across a wide range of
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